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For information on Lake Michigan Fisheries contact:
Bradley Eggold

Root River Report

Steelhead at Root River

The following information is the latest fishing information for the Root River in Racine. We will post new information to this site every TUESDAY at 4:00 pm from September through December and from March through May. We will also update the number of fish processed at the Root River Steelhead Facility to give you the exact number of fish passed upstream. Depending on water conditions and number of fish in the weir, fish are usually processed on Mondays and Thursdays.

In addition, you can call our Lake Michigan Fishing Hotline at (414) 382-7920 to hear the latest fishing information for Lake Michigan and its tributaries or check out our Lake Michigan Outdoor Report

Root River Steelhead Facility

Lake Michigan trout and salmon don't successfully reproduce in Wisconsin streams, so DNR gives Mother Nature a hand. Watch fisheries crews collect eggs and milt from spawning fish to create the next generation of steelhead to challenge anglers on the big pond.

Root River Fishing Report for April 21, 2014

The water level at the Horlick Dam decreased from 3.25 last week to 3.21 feet on Sunday. The flow rate decreased from 154 cfs to 140 cfs. The water temperature increased from 44-45F to 49-50F. The flow rate at the Horlick Dam topped 1200 cfs on Wednesday and Thursday after heavy rain and thunderstorms moved through the area last weekend. But the flow rate and water level dropped to normal again on Sunday after seven days with no precipitation. The water clarity was good from the Horlick Dam down to Washington Park. The water was stained a light red/copper color at the dam with water visibility at 18-24". Many of the anglers were able to sight fish for rainbows in the parks on Sunday. There was a small amount of foam on the water below the rapids at the Horlick Dam and Quarry Lake Park. The top of the river banks were covered with green grass and new vegetation. The trees and shrubs were starting to bud out over the weekend. I didn't notice any new hatches of insects along the river.

For up to date river conditions, check out the USGS web site of stream flow conditions [exit DNR]  in Wisconsin.

Fishing Information

  • Above the weir: Fishing pressure was steady during the week and increased on the weekend. A large number of rainbows worked their way up river after the rain storms last week. The river was full of fish over the weekend. Rainbows were jumping into the whitewater near the base of the Horlick Dam on Friday morning. Over 20 anglers had lines in the water by noon Friday with several anglers just watching. One of the observers reported that the anglers hooked into at least 10 rainbows within 30 minutes. Anglers fishing with spawn were having a little better luck than fly fishermen on Friday. Only 5-6 anglers were seen at the dam on Easter Sunday but the rainbows were still jumping into the whitewater. A couple of fly fishermen landed 8 rainbows on Sunday while casting various colored flies with red/black and black working the best. Some nice size northern pike were caught and released at the dam when the flow rate was near 1200 cfs earlier in the week. 8-10 anglers were seen in Quarry Lake Park on Friday and two of them walked off the river with 6 rainbows on their stringer. Anglers who fished upstream in Quarry Lake Park did better than those fishing below the falls. The water conditions made it easy to spot the fish in Colonial Park on Sunday. One angler caught and released 3 rainbows while casting a small mepps spinner and modified floating rapalas. Another angler caught and released two rainbows while drifting spawn sacks under a slip bobber.
  • Below the weir: Fishing pressure below the weir was light during and week but increased on the weekend. 8-10 anglers were seen in Lincoln Park on Friday morning. A few anglers reported that the water was too fast for fishing and most of them moved elsewhere within an hour of fishing. There were lots of families and young anglers in the park who were fishing for the first time this year on Easter Sunday. The water conditions were better on Sunday but the catch rate was still low. Anglers saw lots of rainbows swimming below the weir but only one fly fisherman reported catching and releasing a rainbow while casting an orange yarn fly. The fishing pressure at Island Park was steady on Easter Sunday. Most of the anglers showed up for the evening bite. One angler drifted a black fly along a river bank and pulled three nice size rainbows out of a hole that was covered by branches from a fallen tree. Three anglers who live near the river but never fished it tried their luck in Island Park for the first time on Sunday. They reported seeing fish swimming in the river but had no luck after a couple hours of fishing with nightcrawlers under slip bobbers. There was little to no fishing pressure at Washington Park during the week. A few anglers showed up to check out the river from the bridges but no anglers were seen fishing there during the week.

Root River Steelhead Facility Report

DATE: April 21, 2014 RIVER TEMP: 52
  Rainbow Trout Chinook Salmon Coho Salmon Brown Trout
Total Captured 927     1
Passed Upstream 802    


Taken to Hatchery        
Spawned at Facility 428      
Egg Take

Chambers Creek - 464,000

Ganaraska - 308,000

Last revised: Thursday March 15 2012